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Full text of "History And Human Relation"

HISTORY    AND    HUMAN    RELATIONS

alone in any given conjuncture, then we have so far
come short of the law. But if we cannot imagine any-
thing more charitable than the thing we actually did do?
even then we are not exempt; for that inability is
itself no doubt owing to the narrowness of our spiritual
nature. In these circumstances any judgment on our
actions or conduct will be apt to translate itself into a
judgment on the thinness or the poverty of our spiritual
nature. It has become one of the typical commonplaces
of our tradition, therefore, to submerge the question of
what a man does in the profounder question of ^hat
he is.

In any case, here is not the kind of law which merely
prohibits our doing a certain thing regarded as wrong
in an absolute sense; or even the kind of law which
specifies the particular actions that human beings are
obliged to do. It is a law capable of commanding men
to do something which nobody has ever been instructed
to do before, something perhaps which nobody in the

, world has ever hitherto thought oŁ    That is to say,

it is a principle calculated to carry a human being to

unpredictable readjustments of conduct or of attitude;

and in the lives of saints it can be seen to have operated

' more like an instruction to adventure and originality,

even carrying the surprises to the point of eccentricity.

Here is a law, then, which cannot really be broken up

into specific injunctions, for its implications are developed

anew in every fresh human situation that arises ;   and

all that can be done even in the New Testament—even

". in the Gospels—is to illustrate its workings in certain

types of conjuncture, as in the case of praying for your

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